Lucknow/New Delhi, Aug 1: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav Thursday defended the action against IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal, saying the state was "within its right to suspend any errant official", even as members of the service association demanded the central government's intervention.
Talking to reporters in Lucknow after a cabinet meeting, the chief minister said a unilateral decision of the suspended officer could have led to communal trouble and the government would in no way tolerate any such action that risks communal harmony in the state.
"The government is within its right to suspend any errant official and we have done so in accordance to laid down norms," he said.
He rubbished charges that Nagpal was suspended under the pressure of the sand mining mafia.
"There was nothing in the matter that is even distantly related to illegal mining, the chief minister said while pointing out that in the past too, action had been taken by the government against all those involved in illegal mining.
Members of the All India IAS (Indian Administrative Service) Association meanwhile met Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office V. Narayanasamy in New Delhi and demanded the central government intervene to revoke the suspension.
The association also submitted a representation demanding the amendment of rules to clearly list a prior course of action for suspension of an IAS officer.
The minister later told reporters that the central government is waiting for a report from the Uttar Pradesh government over the suspension.
"We will look into the matter as soon the reply comes. We will ensure that all rules are followed and the government looks into issues in a dispassionate manner. No need to worry," Narayanasamy said.
Members of the association said they would ensure that Nagpal gets justice.
"As per the existing law, the centre can intervene in the matter on the basis of new facts being brought to the government, or if revision is filed by the officer concerned. In that case, the decision of the centre will be final," association secretary Sanjay R. Bhoosreddy said, adding that if Nagpal got no relief, the association would approach the court.
IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal, who took on the sand mining mafia in Greater Noida (Gautam Budh Nagar), was suspended July 28. The UP government, however, cited a different reason for her suspension. It said she was suspended for ordering demolition of a wall of a religious place in Noida.
A report of the Noida district magistrate has said that Nagpal had not ordered the demolition but Akhilesh Yadav however defended government move.
"One has to look into the reports in totality. The government has done the right thing after study of various ground reports," he said.
The chief minister also vented his anger at the lobbying by the IAS association in favour of the suspended official and reminded how the IAS officials were not even able to speak during the times of his predecessor Mayawati.
"Everyone knows how officials were gagged during the BSP (Bahujan Samaj Party) regime but we believe in openness and democracy," he added.